nivo total station teodolit hiperaktivite The Non-Consumer Advocate Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Page 4

broke spot

I get frustrated with articles and blog posts about how to save money that never challenge the reader to do more than “skip that morning Starbucks run.”

It’s insultingly to the reader. Because, duh . . .

What about when you’re barely hanging on financially? What if you were never stupid enough to establish a daily latte habit in the first place? Are there money saving tips when you’re already financially strapped and have already taken the obvious steps?

Luckily, I am the queen of pinching a penny until it tells you where the microfilm is screams for mercy, and I am generous with my tips, so here you go!

Katy Wolk-Stanley’s money saving tips for the broke-broke-brokety-broke:

Cut cable and then share a Netflix account with a friend or family member. This is completely legal, and although it only saves you $4 per month, you are doing this because you’re broke. So take your $4 savings already! Each Netflix account gives you five different profiles, which means each of your chick flick+eco documentary+wacky comedy algorithms will stay intact. (Even better, get your parents (or kids) to give you their login information for free.)

Call your insurance agent and update them with everything they need to know. If you’re driving less, you should be able to get a discount for that. Simply ask them if there are discounts you could quality for. While you’re at it, take the time to call all your service providers to see about getting your bills lowered.

Give stuff you already own as gifts. Books, family belongings, cute decor items, jewelry and most anything else can be up for grabs. Think of your home as your own personal mall and go shopping. And if you declutter in the process, all the better!

Use less of your household products. When a new container of laundry detergent is major expenditure this tip will save your tuchus. Use half of even a third of the recommended amount of laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, shampoo, conditioner, etc. And when you think you’re out of a liquid product turn it upside down for a few days and then later cut it open when you think it’s finally empty. (It’s not.)

Speaking of your shampoo, it’s time to let go of brand loyalty. You are not Donna or Tom Haverford from Parks & Rec, and you do not need to “Treat yo self!” You will survive a demotion to Dollar store shampoo. (I use White Rain brand, and it is awesome!) This tip can be expanded to almost every category. Give off brands a chance.

Unless you’re exercising, you can probably switch to an every-other-day bathing routine. Wash the important bits with a soapy washcloth and save yourself the time and money.

Just say “No!”  Say “no” to expensive invitations, say “no” to group gifts and say “no” to charitable solicitors. (If you are broke-broke-brokety-broke, it is perfectly okay to pay your own bills before you pay the bills of others.) Say it with me. “No!”

Just say “Yes!” Don’t let pride get in the way of taking your friends and family up on their generous offers. Let your friend pay for the movies or a lovely lunch. You can return the favor when you’re in better financial standing. Maybe you can give them a bouquet of flowers from your garden or an evening of babysitting as a thank you.

Lower your cell phone bill. I am hearing good buzz about Ting, and there is no reason to overpay just because you’re in love with your smart phone.

This one may fall under the duh category, but make sure you’re taking full advantage of everything your library has to offer. Books, music, downloadable audiobooks and museum passes are just the beginning. Portland’s library puts on events for adults and children and clubs for everything from knitting to fans of The Non-Consumer Advocate. Okay, I made that last bit up, but go ask your reference librarian if there’s anything you’re not taking full advantage of.

Embrace cheap recipes. Whether it’s bean based meals or simple meals from everyday items, you need to avoid recipes that call for expensive ingredients. Yes, cooking at home will save you money, but not if you’re having to buy ingredients that only work for that one recipe. Say buh-bye to anything calling for saffron, and sayonara to pricey cuts of meat.

Lower your housing costs. Renting a room to an international exchange college student can be quite lucrative. Not only will you raise some much needed funds, but since the students are from another country they’re unlikely to bring a room full of furniture to your already furnished home. Contact the housing department of your local university, and they should be able to put you in contact with the right people. Plus, it’s fun.

Break your routines. Do you buy all your groceries or household supplies at the same store out of habit? Explore beyond your usual routine to find the best prices for the stuff you need.

Take advantage of any and all free entertainment opportunities. It sucks to stay home all the time just because you’re broke, so scour your local paper and websites for cool free stuff to do. Get out of the house already!

Consider sharing your internet service with a neighbor. Go ahead, ask them. The worst they can say is no.

Stop drinking booze. It’s expensive and not worth the expense. Sorry.

Borrow, borrow, borrow and then share, share, share. Need a whatchamacallit but only occasionally? Ask around to see if anyone in your circle has one you can borrow. We borrow a document shredder, loppers, and the neighbor’s pressure washer, and in exchange we lend out our rug shampooer, wheelbarrow, post hole digger, miscellaneous tools and snow shovel. It goes without saying how important it is to return everything clean and in working order.

Okay people, what did I miss? Please share your tips in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 61 comments }

Today I Am . . .

by Katy on March 9, 2014 · 10 comments


Today I am . . . 

Putting together eBay listings to start this evening, and wishing that the money from reselling was consistent enough to take over my stressful job.

Getting my husband to help load an extremely heavy vintage armchair into the car. My friend Sasha gave it to me a few years ago and now I’m giving it back to her as it became redundant after my love seat acquisition.

Dreading getting the kids up and off to school tomorrow with the horror that is daylight savings.

Going to a party for my husband’s soccer team, and appreciating that there will be free food.

Enjoying that I spent time with my older son last night watching library copies of Little Miss Sunshine and Ted, and remembering that we were once completely satisfied with library movies and TV shows.

Getting excited about our upcoming trip to Washington D.C. and New York. Not only is everything comped for the D.C. portion of the trip, (airfare for the adults, plus food and housing for all) but my husband will get paid for the days he misses because it’s a work related event! And for the NYC portion, I’m already setting up some great stuff, like free Museum of Modern Art passes thanks to an old college chum! (Normally tickets are $25 apiece!) Hooray for my husband being given a national award!

Mad at my neighbor’s contractor and at myself. He parked his truck slightly blocking my driveway, which meant that I very carefully backed out making sure to not scrape my minivan along his truck. Because I was so focused on his truck/my car I somehow didn’t notice my other neighbor’s little Prius, which I then hit. The thing that pisses me off is that he had earlier mentioned how he was blocking my access, yet didn’t move it because I was walking errands at the time. Grrr . . .

Now your turn. What are you doing today?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 10 comments }


Have you ever noticed that thrift shop shelves are fit to burst with souvenir knack knacks? From the individual Dutch wooden clogs to fussy international figurines, you could easily put together the trappings of world travel without ever leaving your cluttered home.

But I am here to say that you can visit faraway locales without cluttering up your home, (and the homes of your loved ones) with souvenir tchotkes!

I decided to photograph the unwanted knick knacks at a couple of different thrift shops to illustrate how useless and tacky these gee-gaws become once you bring them back from your travels.

Because like the Dutch Tulip Fever that infects your body and impels you to buy wooden clogs, windmills and tulips, you can travel the globe without bringing home a suitcase full of useless junk.

“What the hell is all this Dutch stuff, and what made me think I would want it on my mantel?!”

Exhibit A:

souvenirs 1

Exhibit B:

Souvenirs 2

Exhibit C:

Souvenirs 3

Exhibit D:

Souvenirs 4

Exhibit E:

Souvenirs 5

For the love of all things wooden and cloggy, please step away from the souvenir shops!

Want to bring home a souvenir of your travels for gifting and personal enjoyment? May I suggest foreign candies or other edibles.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 42 comments }

Non-Consumer Fails

by Katy on March 6, 2014 · 33 comments


Lettuce Fail

I strive to be frugal and aware of packaging waste and deliberate with my daily life choices. However, even I, The Non-Consumer Advocate fail with my efforts every now and then. Sometimes even all day long.

Perfection is a fallacy.

I’ve written about how much I love that Petco sells scoop-your-own cat litter, which was a fantastic zero waste alternative to the thick bags that our Costco cat litter had been coming in. However, I was 100% happy with being able to scoop our own litter, but only 0% impressed with how well the product actually performed. Clumping cat litter is supposed to hold together when activated by urine, but the Petco brand did not. This meant that our upstairs hallway always smelled like cat pee. I tried the product for at least six months, but finally admitted defeat and went back to transitionally packaged litter. I hate packaging waste, but I really hate infusing my home with eau de kitty toilette. FAIL!

Pinterest is full of beautifully photographed images of lettuce stumps resprouting on people’s windowsills. I’ve tried this method with scallions, (worked beautifully, but since scallions give me heartburn I never repeated the experiment) but my efforts to regrow lettuce were a complete and utter failure. No, let me rephrase that. My efforts were a rotten and disgusting failure! First off the stump shrank and was on the verge of falling into the water, (which is why I poked it with skewers) and then horrible little brown lettuce leaves sprouted and then stopped growing. Yes, they grew, but only to the size that Barbie and Ken would approve of. FAIL!

My mother bought me a two month gym membership for Christmas so that we could work out together. (Building strength around her new knee for her and general fitness for me.) I have gone precisely 0.0 times since getting the initial orientation. FAIL!

The last example of a Non-Consumer fail is from the Facebook group, but it garnered enough responses to be included here.

“I have a coworker who had plumbing problems this weekend. It involved the toilet (and thankfully she didn’t elaborate). She said she had to use all her towels to clean it up and then threw them all away because she’d never want to put her face to them again and that she’d just buy all new ones.”

Yes. This woman threw away her towels because they got poopy! The Facebook responses ranged from:

“We’d be broke if we threw our towels out every time some ‘very earthy and organic’ substance were found on them.”

To:

“Even though they can be cleaned and sanitized, I would still think of the nastiness and gag everytime I tried to use one after that. Plus I wouldn’t even want to deal with touching them and trying to get them into the washer, especially if they were dripping wet with nastiness. Much easier to toss into a trash bag and be done with them.”

The general consensus was that a sanitizing wash in hot water could have saved the towels, but even if they were permanently stained, they could have been downgraded to pet towels or rags. Everyone had a strong opinion on this one!

Have you experienced any recent Non-Consumer fails? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 33 comments }


Vintage Ball canning jar

  1. I drove to Costco yesterday to cash my annual American Express Costco rebate. I was handed $322.23, and walked out with a jug of honey and a 42-pound bag of cat litter. I also topped up the gas tank, even though it only needed five gallons. The price of gas is always cheaper at Costco, so even a few gallons of gas is worth it. Needless to say, I partook of the free food samples and then walked past the food court.
  2. I stopped at a few thrift shops on the drive home and picked up a couple of items. I bought a 29¢ antique Ball canning jar and a cheap stack of Noritake Marguerite plates, which I will resell on eBay. How did I know to buy these bargain plates? I did a Completed Listings search on eBay through my iPhone.
  3. I took a pair of hand-me-down Lucky Brand pants that were too long for my son and hemmed them. My older son does not like jeans or anything tight, so finding him pants is a never ending struggle. He now has a free brand new looking pair of pants that he’s willing to wear, and they’re even custom tailored!
  4. I snuggled up with son the other day to watch a library DVD of Argo. The movie was fantastic, (although I may have added a few extra grey hairs from the dramatic tension.) I love that my sons are now old enough to watch adult movies. I can’t get enough of all those free library movies!
  5. I picked up a free tub of chocolate chip cookie dough from Papa Murphy’s while walking home from the grocery store. We have a fat stack of these free coupons which we use infrequently enough to keep it as a treat. (They give them out at Timbers games, and my husband’s vegan friends always give us theirs.) We baked a dozen last night as a treat, and the second dozen for today’s school lunches.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been doing?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 16 comments }


Reading glasses

I started wearing reading glasses a few months ago. And me being me (i.e. cheap) I picked up a pair at The Dollar Tree store.

They work perfectly for my needs.

I briefly considered picking up a couple different pairs, as they were so bleeding cheap, but instead I decided to stick with the single pair and just be careful with them. I rescued a hard-shell glasses case from my older son’s room, (his prescription lenses always come with a new case) and have been very deliberate about where they’re kept and how they’re treated.

They’re still in perfect condition.

My neighbors recently hosted a lovely get together, and one of the partygoers got annoyed when her sister was rough housing and jostled her glasses. (Yes, “lovely get together and “rough housing” coexist in my world.)

“Careful with my $700 glasses” she screamed.

She then explained that her glasses had transition lenses, invisible bifocals and were featherweight. So yes, I can understand why she would want to treat them like the crown-freaking-jewels.

But the financial cost of your belongings should not guide how well you treat them. Some of my favorite household belongings were either free or damned close to it! Does that mean I should treat them poorly?

Hell, no!

William Morris’ quote of “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” comes to mind with this situation. Because there is nothing useful or beautiful of having multiple versions of a single item simply because they were cheap.

Whether your stuff cost $1, $700 or even $7000 dollars it still had to be manufactured from raw materials and will someday break beyond repair. Buying multiple versions of something just because it was cheap not only clutters your home but defeats the purpose.

Respect your belongings. All of them.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 18 comments }


There’s not much that can put me in a guaranteed happy mood like a productive day of thrifting. Add to that, an afternoon spent with my mother and I’m in nirvana.

How happy?

As happy as my under-sink bag holder with recently added googly-eyes!

Wow, that’s happy!

happy bags

When I thrift, I keep an eye out for things my family needs, but I also scour the shops for drastically underpriced items that I can resell for the ol’ college fund. I keep in mind what’s on trend at the moment, like midcentury furnishings.

Check out this midcentury stereo console! Unfortunately, it was priced at $90, which is waaaaay too much for the likes of me.

closed midcentury console

Even though it was pristine. Ooh, ahh . . . .

open console

This midcentury Bassett brand dresser was priced at $65, (although everything that day was 50%-off, so it was actually $32.50!) I wavered for at least a good half an hour on this one and finally left it at the shop. Why? Because the the top surface was a laminate, and I have lost my reselling confidence over being unable to sell my drop-leaf table that I was sure would be an easy sale. (It’s been on my front porch once December, and puts me in a decidedly unhappy mood.)

Update: I just now sold the midcentury table! It was only for $5 more than I paid for it, but I had given up all hope. Yay!

I’ve actually been keeping an eye out for this kind of wide-rather-than-tall dresser for our bedroom, and probably should have bought this as a placeholder, but I couldn’t get over the laminate top. (The rest was solid wood and the drawers had lovely dovetailing, so the quality was otherwise excellent.)

My Instagram followers were in favor of the purchase.

midcentury bargain

I might have loaded up the back of the minivan with the dresser if it weren’t for these vintage Lane lacquer and brass nightstands. So glam, so Halston-y, almost a Tony Montana “Say hello to my little friend” vibe. And priced at $15 apiece, I was unable to resist. I did a quick internet search and saw that someone was selling this exact same set on eBay for $750! So yes, I bought them.

I now have them up on Craigslist, so we’ll see what happens. (Knowing my recent luck, I may be owning these for awhile.)

lane nightstands

The one purchase I made this day for me was this perfect vintage velvet love seat which set me back a whopping $30! I’ve been keeping an eye out for years for a small couch for our downstairs bedroom/TV room. It had only been comfortably seating three people, (which was a never ending problem for a family of four.)

Here’s what I love about this love seat:

  • The gold velvet with chocolate brown piping looks great with the rest of my velvet furnishings.
  • Sitting on a love seat with a teenage boy makes them accidentally snuggle with their mother.
  • The slim lines are both pleasing to the eye, and help the piece not take up too much space.
  • It was $30, people! (And my mother paid for it.)

The addition of this purchase completed the shop-until-your-minivan-is-full afternoon, and is still filling me with happiness. (And before you ask, I spent a couple of hours shampooing the love seat with my Bissell rug shampooer; and yes, I thoroughly inspected it for bedbugs.)

Loveseat

I love this love seat so much, I might even put a pair of googly-eyes on it!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 20 comments }

A Never Ending Quest For Frugal Hacks

by Katy on February 27, 2014 · 31 comments


Ponytail holder shopping

As a frugality writer and longtime cheap-o lady frugalista, you’d think I would eventually reach a saturation point where there’d be nothing new to learn. Luckily, such is not the case. Yes, it comes in fits and spurts, but there are always new frugal hacks to incorporate into my daily life.

Just recently I figured these these new tricks:

  • As the mother of boys/young men/testosterone bags I am the sole keeper of the feminine way. I mostly wear my hair down, but occasionally do put it up. I was doing fine with two elastic ponytail holders until I suddenly had none. Inspired by Bea from Zero Waste Home, I decided to move past the eww factor and shop from the turf at my son’s soccer field. (A rich supply of ponytail holders, if ever there was one.)  I am now the proud owner of a single functional ponytail holder. And nothing had to be bought, manufactured, packaged or thrown away.
  • I recently washed our bed pillows using a Pinterest tutorial, (I wasn’t pleased with the results, so I’m not sharing the link) which included putting sock covered tennis balls in the dryer. I liked how the tennis balls give the laundry an extra bounce of movement in the dryer, so I’m now using them for each and every load. The clothes seem to be drying faster, and I finally found a use for my father’s spent tennis balls plus those sad single socks. (New idea . . . a match.com site for socks that are missing their mates!)
  • I am a prolific tea drinker, and am very fussy about the strength. (Too strong and it might as well be coffee, too weak and what’s the point?) However, I recently picked up an adorable small $2 vintage teapot (looks a bit like a small Brown Betty) which is the perfect size for two cups of tea. Actually, it’s the perfect size for 2-1/2 cups of tea, yet is still the perfect strength! People, that is a free half cup of tea! Multiply that by 365 and that’s 182 free cups of tea per year! (Math, yo!) And since my kids also drink tea, the savings are actually worth writing home about.

Have you recently incorporated any new frugal hacks into your life? Please share in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 31 comments }


If you’re in the Portland area on Thursday the 27th and are looking for an enjoyable evening, I highly recommend a certain reading at the Powell’s on Hawthorne by a certain person who happens to be my father. He’ll be reading from The Parable of You, (Propellor Books) his new collection of short stories.

Tony Wolk reading

And make sure to introduce yourself, I’d love to meet you!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 3 comments }


  1. I took my older son and one of our former Japanese exchange students to go hear my sister’s band The Moonshine last night. It was a special free gig that fit perfectly into our schedule, and the owner told us that our non-alcoholic drinks “Were on the house!” Sweet!
  2. I read on Pinterest that you can put your vacuum cleaner filter through the dishwasher. I was a bit skeptical, but since I’ve simply been cleaning ours with a rubba-scrubba since 2001, I thought I’d give it a try. And it worked great, and looks as good as new! And since a new filter costs $15, this was a great discovery! (Note, I did not wash any dishes with the same load.)
  3. Sunday was a very busy day with soccer and errands. Not to mention that I was still ridiculously exhausted from having driven nine hours the previous day. It would have been sooo easy to order takeout for dinner, but instead I pulled a pan of restuffed potatoes from the freezer and all was well. I gave last week’s Katy a little thank you, perhaps even out loud.
  4. I took a pot of red pepper hummus back to New Season’s for a refund. The texture had been weirdly pasty and everyone (including me) refused to eat it. Yes, it had been bought for Super Bowl Sunday, but that made no difference. I left with $3.50 in hand, which I promptly popped into the boys’ college fund.
  5. I did not buy a Lear Jet.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 20 comments }

nivo total station teodolit hiperaktivite